Millie Small of ‘My Boy Lollipop’ Fame Passes Away

Fri May 15, 2020

Credited as the first Jamaican Artist to Break with a Top Ten Chart Hit (Little Millie Small) died Monday, May 5, 2020 in England, she was 73 years old.

Some musical history buffs like to say she had a reggae hit, but in actuality the sound of “My Boy Lollipop” reflected more of Ska and Rock Steady sounds.

The song was a huge hit on the charts in 1964 and peaked at #2 on the Cashbox Charts on July 4, 1964, with the #1 position being held by the Beach Boys with “I Get Around.” The song reputedly sold over six million copies. It also reached #2 in England, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Plus, it was #1 in Australia.

Listen in to My Boy Lollipop here:

The song was used a 1985 episode of “Miami Vice”; was heard in a British TV series “Heartbeat”; made the soundtrack of the 1997 Spice Girls’ movie “Spice World”; and was featured in the London 2012 Olympics’ opening ceremony.

American Soul Singer Bill Withers Passes On

Fri Apr 10, 2020

The career of Bill Withers, who has died aged 81 of heart complications, followed an unusual trajectory. He did not try to enter the music industry until after he had spent nine years in the US Navy, leaving the service in 1965 and moving to Los Angeles two years later. By the time he released his debut album, Just As I Am, in 1971 he was 33, an age at which many pop careers have already been and gone.

But Withers made up for lost time. His album was packed with memorable songs, including Harlem and Grandma’s Hands, and entered the US Top 40. Ain’t No Sunshine, his first single, reached No 3 and became one of the landmark songs in his career, despite lasting a scant two minutes. Inspired by Blake Edwards’ gruelling 1962 film about alcoholism, Days of Wine and Roses, it has become an enduring anthem of loneliness and heartbreak.

John Prine When I Get To Heaven

Fri Apr 10, 2020

“When I get to Heaven I'm gonna shake God's hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a Rock and Roll band
Check into a swell hotel
Ain't the 'Afterlife' grand!”

John Prine, Lyrics to When I Get To Heaven

And now John Prine has started his journey to Heaven and I am sure that he is doing exactly what he voiced in these lyrics, no doubt with his buddy and fellow Chicagoan Steve Goodman who passed away in 1984. Goodman and Prine will always be intertwined for it was when Steve was opening for Kris Kristofferson that the pieces began to fall into place. Kris was impressed with Goodman and offered to get him recording when Steve said, “You think I’m good? You need to see my friend John Prine!”

Joe Diffie Gone Too Soon

Fri Apr 03, 2020

It was a tough week for country music, we lost Kenny Rogers, Jan Howard and Joe Diffie. Howard was 91, Rogers 81 and died of natural causes but  Joe Diffie only 61 years old and was taken by the Covid-19 Corona Virus.

Joe Logan Diffie was born on Dec. 28, 1958, in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Joe and Flora Diffie. His father held various jobs and later drove a tour bus for the country superstar Toby Keith; his mother was a schoolteacher and owned a flower shop. His family moved frequently before settling back in Oklahoma, where Mr. Diffie attended high school and college. As a child, he played with his aunt’s country band, and later as part of rock, gospel and bluegrass outfits.

Kenny Rogers, The Gambler Has Left the Table

Fri Mar 27, 2020

The dealin’ is done, the gambler has left the table. Kenny Rogers, best known for his multi-genre, multi-media, the song was a radio hit and it was made into a movie, The Gambler, has passed away at age 81.

Rogers’ career spanned many decades, starting in 1966 with popular New Christie Minstrels who had a big hit with a song called “Green, Green”. In 1967 Rogers and three members of Minstrels, Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho left the group to form The First Edition. The band had a string of hits, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” a Mickey Newbury song that was rescued by this version. Jerry Lee Lewis had also cut a really bad version of it, but it suited the band and especially Rogers’s voice perfectly. The band knew how to pick songs including the Mike Settle composed “But You Know I Love You” Mel Tillis’ “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love To Town)”, and Mac Davis’ “ Something’s Burning.”

John Mann Has “Gone Home For A Rest”

Fri Nov 22, 2019

John Mann, the driving force behind Spirit of the West, has lost his long-time battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He succumbed on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, to the early-onset of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 57.

Mann rose to fame in the 1980s as one of the main singers and songwriters for Spirit of the West, a popular Celtic-inspired group. He was also an accomplished actor, with several film and theatre credits to his name. He was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2014, and the band played its last show two years later. Though the disease was degenerative and his battle several years long, news of his death shook Spirit of the West drummer Vince Ditrich.

Scott Walker The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore

Fri Jun 14, 2019

Scott Walker (born Noel Scott Engel) was an American-born British singer-songwriter, composer and record producer. Walker was known for his distinctive baritone voice and an unorthodox career path which took him from 1960s pop icon to the 21st-century avant-garde musician. Walker's success was largely in the United Kingdom, where his first three solo albums reached the top ten. He lived in the UK from 1965 and became a British citizen in 1970.

First coming to fame in the mid-1960s as the frontman of the pop music trio The Walker Brothers, Walker began a solo career with 1967's Scott, moving toward an increasingly challenging baroque pop style on late '60s albums such as Scott 3 (1969) and Scott 4 (1969).

Kelly Jay of Crowbar Fame Suffers Stroke

Fri Jun 14, 2019

Editor's Note: Since the writing of this article Kelly Jay has passed away. His daughter Shawna posted this on Facebook. "My mum called the big guy home to her this morning. Together forever. Dance among the stars. Sing your heart out to her (as she called you “the voice”) embrace one another and dad, kiss and hug her for me. Play the piano in front of all the angels. Watch your little girl tiff boogie the night away. RIP daddio"

Kelly Jay, Canada’s legendary band-mate of Crowbar fame has suffered a stroke which has no chance of recovery for him. His family is raising money for his funeral expenses in advance to celebrate his life at https://www.gofundme.com/kelly-jays-celebration-of-life

Please read their post here and considering donating for a rock n roll legend.

New Orleans Legend Dr. John Dies of Heart Attack

Fri Jun 14, 2019

Dr. John, a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a six-time Grammy winner, died Thursday June 6, 2019 morning from a heart attack, said publicist and social media manager Karen Beninato.

Dr. John, whose real name was Malcolm John Rebennack Jr, was 77.

Beninato's post on Dr. John's Facebook page said memorial arrangements will be announced.

Dr. John "created a unique blend of music which carried his home town, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart," she wrote.

According to the Grammy website, Dr. John began his musical career working as a songwriter and guitarist in the 1950s. He later played keyboards for Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison.

He told Smithsonian.com in 2009, that in 1960, or so, he got shot in a finger when he went to defend a bandmate who was being pistol-whipped.

Graham Powers Music Memories and Montreal

Thu Apr 04, 2019

Submitted by Sandy Graham

During my radio days, I had the pleasure of meeting Graham Powers when he came to CJFM to promote music to me as a music director. It was at that time, I was looking for an assistant and he suggested his then girlfriend, Debbie to come work with me. I hired her and she married Graham and had a family together. That turned out to be a lifelong friendship. So it was with a heavy heart I heard the news of Graham’s passing.

Truth be known, although I had not met him yet, I was one of those teenyboppers who used to go see MG & the Escorts play in Montreal at the Bonaventure Curling Club, when that stage graced the likes of Graham’s band, along with other Montreal bands JB & the Playboys, The Rabble, Bartholomew Plus Three and hosting by then DJ Dave Boxer of CFCF. Boxer would be instrumental in breaking MG’s first singles and getting them on those shows.

Hal Blaine May He Rest Forever On the 2 and the 4

Fri Mar 15, 2019

Hal Blaine, the drummer for The Wrecking Crew, has passed away at the age of 90. Blaine was one of the most recorded studio drummers in the history of the music industry, having played on an estimated 35,000 sessions, 6,000 singles and on 40 number 1 hits.

Hal Blaine was actually the driving beat behind the soundtrack of our lives From the early days of Phil Spector and The Ronettes to The Byrds and The Beach Boys Hal Blaine’s creative style shaped the sound of pop music The opening drum hits on The Ronettes ‘Be My Baby’ made the song instantly recognizable. Pop legend Andy Kim said on his Facebook page “Listening to the explosive intro of ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes made my transistor radio shake, and started me dreaming of what my world would be like living inside that radio. Thank you, Hal Blaine.” Blaine even played at his own 90th birthday bash.

Peter Tork More Than Just a Monkee

Fri Mar 01, 2019

Peter Halsten Thorkelson better known as Peter Tork, was an American musician, composer and actor, best known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist of the Monkees. Peter Tork was the loveable wise guy of the Monkees, the popular television rock group that rocketed to stardom in the 1960s. But Peter Tork was a serious musician who pushed for the Monkees to create their own music instead of the outside musicians and songwriters the producers used when the show started. Tork wrote the song “For Pete’s Sake,” which was used for the closing credits during the Monkees second season. He continued to record and perform folk and blues music after the Monkees, releasing his latest album with his band Shoe Suede Blues in 2018.

Reggie Young Forever Young

Fri Feb 01, 2019

One of the most recorded session guitarists of a generation, Reggie Young, has passed away at age 82. Young died during the evening of January 17, 2019, at his home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee from heart failure.

He got his start in Memphis with a band called Eddie Bond and the Stompers, a rockabilly group that toured with the likes of Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins in the late ‘50s and in 1958 joined Johnny Horton’s band and played the Louisiana Hayride several times.

Legendary Music Icon Kelton ‘Kelso’ Herston Passes On

Fri Dec 14, 2018

Kelton Dean Herston, "Kelso", 87 of Nashville Tennessee passed away peacefully on December 4, 2018.

Mr. Herston was born on April 23, 1931, in Rogersville, Alabama. He grew up in Florence, Alabama, where he developed an early love for music and the guitar. Kelso graduated from Coffee High School in Florence and attended the University of Alabama before joining the United States Air Force. While in the service, he was stationed in West Germany. During his tour of duty, he formed a band in Frankfurt, which ended up performing for the troops in the 7th Army Special Services.

Upon his return home from the service in 1956, he formed Tune Records and Publishing in Florence, with his friend James Joiner. Three years later, Sam Phillips of Sun Records in Memphis hired Kelso to open an office in Nashville, Tennessee, to run his publishing companies, Hi-Low and Knox Music. Kelso also began playing guitar on recording sessions in Nashville and soon became one of Nashville's top session players, playing on hundreds of songs.

Roy Clark Yesterday When He Was Young

Fri Nov 23, 2018

Roy Clark has left the stage and has gone on to his next appearance, joining an illustrious group in heaven that includes Chet Atkins and his buddy Glen Campbell. The  multi-leveled entertainer died at his Tulsa, Oklahoma, home due to complications from pneumonia. Roy Linwood Clark was born April 15, 1933, in Meherrin, Virginia and was the oldest of five children. He was 85 years old.

Jurgen Peter of The Haunted Passed Away

Fri Mar 31, 2017

Co-founder and guitarist of one of Canada’s original garage bands The Haunted from the 1960’s has passed away in British Columbia. Details are not available at the time of publishing.

The Haunted were a Canadian garage rock band from Montreal , Quebec. The band was formed by Jurgen Peter (guitar) in 1965, and went on to release several records before finally disbanding in 1971. They were among the first Canadian bands to achieve a level of success in their musical genre.

In 1965, Jurgen Peter joined up with Bob Burgess (vocals), Al Birmingham (lead guitar), Glenn Holmes (bass), and Peter Symes (drums) to form The Haunted. Besides Peter, the other constant band member through most of its six-year history was Birmingham. The band membership that recorded the band's best known song, "1-2-5" was composed of Birmingham (lead guitar), Peter (rhythm guitar), Burgess (vocals), Mason Shea (bass) and Dave Wynne (drums).

Bob Montgomery He Was All About the Song

Fri Feb 26, 2016

There’s a lot of talk going around that there aren’t many good singers around these days, that there are not a lot of classic voices that will be remembered years from now. But after seeing some award shows and other performances of current artists doing hits from the past, I’m starting to think the problem isn’t really the singers as much as the songs. In my opinion there were a lot better songs being written back in the day but you need somebody to find those songs and get them to the artists and producers and get them recorded. There was none better at this then Bob Montgomery, the best friend a song and songwriter ever had. Working out of Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, Bob discovered and championed countless songs and their writers as well as writing classics of his own, “Back in Baby’s Arms” for Patsy Cline and the huge crossover hit “Misty Blue”.

Cashbox Canada News Archive